Public Lands

When Republicans Supported the Environment: Bush 41

The GOP wasn’t always the sworn enemy of environmental protection.

Younger people today probably know about George Herbert Walker Bush (R) as the father of George W. Bush and (perhaps) as the architect of the first Iraq War. But he also had some notable environmental achievements to his credit. Here are some of his accomplishments: Air Pollution Law. The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments were …

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Red Paint Will Curb Public Access to Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, One of Los Angeles County’s Most Significant Open Spaces

Parking restrictions in Rancho Palos Verdes

Rancho Palos Verdes City Council votes to eliminate public street parking near Portuguese Bend Reserve

  See a full set of photos illustrating parking restrictions at Portuguese Bend Reserve on the Emmett Institute Flickr page.  Update: Responding to public concern about its new parking restrictions, the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council voted unanimously at its meeting on Sept. 1 to move away from a full parking prohibition. The council voted …

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The Draft Democratic Platform and the Environment

The Democrats are promising bold climate action but not committing to details.

The Republicans have decided not to update their 2016 platform, but the Democrats now have a draft of their 2020 platform. The platform essentially calls for aggressively moving beyond Obama’s actions (and eliminating Trump’s).  For those who are in a rush, I’ll start with the takeaways. Key Points Here are some of the most important aspects …

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Wasting Away in Methaneville

Another Trump rollback gets slapped down in court.

A week ago, a federal district court overturned yet another ill-conceived rollback by the Trump Administration. The case, California v. Bernhardt, involved releases of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The legal flaws in the rollback by the Bureau of Land Management, are all too typical of the Administration’s work product. The Administration has repeatedly lost …

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July Fourth at Mt. Rushmore: What about the “unalienable rights” of the Lakota?

In the limbo game of the 45th presidency: no matter how far the bar descends, Trump clears it by going under. Just two weeks after political furor over a planned Juneteenth support rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma—site of the 1921 Race Massacre, in which white mobs killed up to 300 Black people in 48 hours, and …

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Fancy Dancing on the Appalachian Trail

How to Use Textualism to Evade Statutory Texts

The Supreme Court’s decision in Cowpasture case allows gas pipelines to cross the Appalachian trial. The ruling didn’t get much attention because of its timing. It came down the same day as Bostock, which outlawed employment discrimination against gays and transsexuals. Bostock featured a big battle over the meaning of textualism. But Cowpasture was also …

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Surprise! Major Land Conservation Bill Poised to Pass Congress

Republican-Led Senate Prepared to Preserve Public Lands–and Political Careers?

Over the past decade, we’ve become resigned to the sad fact of congressional gridlock: a hopelessly partisan and paralyzed Congress, seemingly unable to pass major legislation on the environmental protection, natural resource conservation or, indeed, any number of other policy fronts. So it has to come as a  shock to most observers that this week …

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Trump says he will allow commercial fishing in national monument

An Antiquities Act edition of “can he do that”?

On June 5, President Trump issued a “Proclamation on Modifying The Northeast Canyons And Seamounts Marine National Monument.” This Proclamation follows a court defeat for opponents of the National Monument — the DC Circuit last year dismissed a claim by commercial fishing interests that the National Monument was unlawfully designated. Trump’s Proclamation purports to modify …

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NEPA, emergencies and executive power

Once more we need to ask, can Trump do what he claims to be doing?

Late Thursday, the White House issued another in a seemingly endless series of administrative orders. Under the typically overblown title “EO on Accelerating the Nation’s Economic Recovery from the COVID-19 Emergency by Expediting Infrastructure Investments and Other Activities,” it was touted by the President’s team as a way to speed infrastructure permitting and another step …

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(Still More) Bad News on the Doorstep

New Reports Document Accelerating Wildlife Extinctions, Global Deforestation Trends

While public attention in recent weeks and months has understandably focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial justice shockwaves triggered by George Floyd’s tragic death, another disaster continues apace. This week the New York Times published two alarming stories documenting the accelerating decline of our global environment.  The first, entitled “Extinctions Are Accelerating, Threatening …

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